Visa Changes for Working in Australia
The Australian Government have announced that they are abolishing the 457 visa in order to strengthen the quality of temporary and permanent employees, as well as ensuring there are more opportunities for skilled local Australian’s.
The new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa will replace the 457 visa from March 2018 with the current ‘Occupation List’ being reduced from 651 to 435 occupations eligible for application.
The previous Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) will be renamed as the new Short-term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL), it will be updated every six months based on advice from the Australian Department of Employment and allows up to maximum 2 years stay. The list allows businesses to fill skill gaps on a temporary basis when Australian workers cannot be sourced.
The previous Skilled Occupation List (SOL) has also been renamed as the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), this list includes all occupations which are deemed as being vital to the Australian economy with a maximum stay of four years. The list allows for the needs of sponsoring companies to fly in skilled employees from overseas, where suitable Australian workers cannot be sourced.
The 457 visa included a pathway to permanent residence but only the MLTSSL stream allows for this after three years of residency. Both streams allow for one onshore visa renewal.
Eligibility for both streams (MLTSSL and STSOL) can be found below:
- Work experience - at least two years’ relevant work experience.
- Labour market testing (LMT): LMT will be mandatory, unless an international obligation applies
- Minimum market salary rate: Employers must pay the Australian market salary rate and meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold requirements
- Character: Mandatory penal clearance certificates to be provided.
- Workforce: A non-discriminatory workforce test to ensure employers are not actively discriminating against Australian workers.
- Training requirement: a strengthened training requirement for employers to contribute towards training Australian workers.
The new requirements include an age restriction of 45 or under at the time of the application and a requirement of an International English Language Testing System (or equivalent).
Although the changes will not be fully incorporated until March 2018 some changes are being implemented already. The Government will announce further measures to strengthen the integrity of Australia’s migration programme and visa systems in the near future.